From Thinking About What Might Have Been to Sharing What We Know: The Role of Counterfactual Mind-Sets in Information Sharing in Groups
30 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2002
We hypothesized that the activation of a counterfactual mind-set minimizes group decision errors that result when a group relies on its members to share uniquely held information. In two experiments, groups were exposed to one of two pre-task scenarios in which the salience of counterfactual thoughts was manipulated. Subsequently they engaged in a murder mystery task. In both experiments, counterfactual mind-sets increased the discussion of uniquely held information and increased the likelihood of choosing the correct suspect. In addition, the number of counterfactual thoughts predicted both the discussion of unique information and decision accuracy. These results emerged regardless of whether the direction of the counterfactual thoughts was upward (Experiment 1) or downward (Experiment 2), suggesting that it is the process of thinking counterfactually and not the content of the counterfactuals that facilitated group decision making.
Keywords: Group decision-making, information sharing, counterfactual thinking
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